I am urging parents to ensure their children have received both doses of the MMR vaccine as cases of Measles continue to rise in the West Midlands.
I am backing the calls from the region’s health bosses following 167 confirmed cases and a further 88 likely cases of the disease mainly in Birmingham and Coventry since October to this month.
However, other areas are now seeing cases and getting the jab will give communities the herd immunity they need to stop the spread.
Measles spreads very easily among those who are unvaccinated, especially in nurseries and schools. It can be a serious illness for some and lead to hospitalisation. In rare cases it can cause death.
Our medical experts have said the uptake of MMR measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine in the region is much lower than the 95% needed to protect the population and this is leading to the increased cases in communities.
There is an urgent need to stop the spread of measles and can I urge parents to see whether their children have had both MMR jabs as that gives 99% protection and it is completely safe.
It is also important to highlight that there is an MMR vaccine available which does not use porcine gelatine in its production and GPs in Muslim communities will have these in stock.
Measles symptoms are a fever that lasts for a couple of days followed by a cough, runny nose and conjunctivitis (red, sore eyes).
The rash starts on the face and upper neck, spreads down the upper body and then extends to the arms, hands, legs and feet. After about five days the rash starts to fade.
In some people it can cause complications, such as ear infection, chest infections and even pneumonia.
In very rare cases some people who get measles can develop serious complications, which can be fatal.
Further information on measles and the MMR vaccine can be found on the NHS website: www.nhs.uk